Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Supplies

Of course, when taking a road trip, you need to take enough sustenance to cover the whole of the trip. And not all of it should be made of sugar either. When my sister and I went on a road trip last year, the person not driving was responsible for providing the person driving with the food. Be they mandarins, apples, drinks or whathaveyou. This time however, it will be just Brom and me (and Mouse) and I am the only with opposable thumbs! 

That means no mandarins, no sandwiches that have to be made and no apples (I am not too fond of them). Instead there are winegums, liquorice-type sweets and sweet chocolate brioches. Plus (yes, yes) cherry tomatoes and grapes. All easy to grab and easy to stuff. The drinks will be in easy to open bottles. Then again, I might stop underway somewhere and get a nice bite. Or not. 

The salad and the yoghurt are for my dinner on the ferry. I felt that the 40 euros asked for dinner in their buffet restaurant was highly over the top! Instead I will have a small warm dinner at home and then the salad as a supper-type meal. Both those together didn't even come to 10 euros!

One more night...

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Tøfler

Have you ever heard of Arne and Carlos? You haven't? Well, let me tell you that they are two Swedish guys who love knitting and write books with lots of great patterns, for lots of different things like dolls or tøfler. And that is Norwegian for slippers. 

Before I started with Mice for Mama, I had bought the doll book (I tried, too fiddly) and the slipper book. Mainly inspired by the sister of a colleague (who I actually never met, but the colleague spoke highly of her and her experiences in 'toving' or felting), I thought I might give the slippers a go. I even bought some wool to give it a try. I never got around to do it though. 

Until I started Mice for Mama that is. After weeks and weeks of working on other things (ie the books) and knitting mice (did you know you can even place an order for favourite colours?), I thought that I might try and diversify and knit something else as well. But fit for Mice for Mama!

Before they were washed and with the heads unfilled
So, one afternoon I got out the book (remember it's in Norwegian), the wool and then started hunting for my sock needles. I found lots of them, but not in the size in wanted. Of course! But, in the end I managed to locate the right quintet and off I went. The first thing I noticed was how hard it actually was on my hands. I am a loose knitter and that caused me to use the smallest size possible for the wool's thickness, so as not to make something that doesn't work. 

After a while though, I got the hang of it and tried to follow the instructions. Which were simple and easy and totally understandable. Before I knew it, I had the heel done (the trickiest part) and then the rest of the slipper. It looked good as well, albeit a bit big (it's the smallest size slipper). I then went on to make the second slipper, which was even easier, since I now knew what to do. 

But I wasn't done there yet! Because the slippers have to be fit for Mice for Mama and that means that mice have to be included. So, off I went to find my thin felting wool and some knitting needles. Which proved tricky, since I have every size under the sun, expect the one I needed. In the end I found one that was nearly there (only a quarter off) and they turned out to be perfect. 

The slippers weren't ready then. They needed to be washed and so do the mousies' heads. They are washed at a higher temperature than should be used for wool (40 instead of 30 degrees) and that means shrinkage! Which is exactly what is supposed to happen. After they had dried out, I stuffed the heads and sewed them to the slippers. But, to me it doesn't look good. Well, not good enough anyway. I will have to come up with another solution!

Monday, 21 August 2017

A clerical error

We have six-week long rotas at work. After the six weeks are over, we start anew. You always know what you have to do, which is brilliant. Recently we got a new rota and even though I had one copy in my money bag, I did not have one at home. Which meant that I was sure I had to work today, but I didn't know at what time exactly. I knew it was early, but how early? So, last night I checked online.

Well, that wasn't right: it said I didn't have to work, I was on holiday! Which wasn't the worst of it though: it said that next week I would have to work!! Well, that couldn't be right, I can't be working next week, I am going to the zoo next week. Where was my vacation application? See, there it was: free from the 25th of August, nothing to do with the 21st. Hold on, the person who okayed my application had put down week 34. Which starts today, the 21st. 

After a nice lie-in (I am on holiday now they say), I made my way to the office: get this mess sorted, because next week I will NOT be working! Well, the result of that is: I will not be working next week. Nor will I be working this week, since I now have two weeks off. I am two days short really, but we are sure that can be sorted at a later time, either by some overwork here or there, or by having some days go without pay. 

Either way though: it's a holi-holi-day!!! Bliss...

Saturday, 19 August 2017

On second glance

A few weeks ago I wrote about how the new pills I had received from my GP did not live up to expectations. At least the ones I had to take when I had an attack going. Was it the wrong type of headache, did I take the pills too late? Either way, they did not work. 

This morning I felt another attack coming on. A different type. The type that is totally debilitating. Which makes me loose my lunch. And breakfast and dinner. The one that sees me in a darkened room, preferably with ear plugs feeling extremely sorry for myself. Of course I could wait until it had become a full-blown attack, or I could take a pill before. I chose the latter.

The question of course is: does it work? Well, seeing as how I am still mobile, still in a light room, still without earplugs, still knitting/computering away: YES! The pressure on my nose and just behind my eyes is still there, but it doesn't cause me grief. My breakfast stayed down (taken after the pill) and I feel okay. Of course driving is out of the question, seeing as how there is a big red triangle on the box, but no pain. 

I get this type of headache about three to four times a year and I do know some of the warning signs: heavy hands/arms and a light headache one to two days before, easily treated. But unless I am at home relaxing, I don't always feel/notice those warning signs. I noticed the heavy arm last night, but didn't think much of it. But remembering back to my childhood: that was one of the things that always happened and this type of headache was the only one I ever got back then. 

Anyhoo, the pill worked and I am happy. Now I can continue cleaning the apartment!

Friday, 18 August 2017

It's ready!

And by it I mean the car. It hasn't got a name. I do refer to it as my cake tin or cookie jar, because of its smallness. Other than that it's just 'it'. And it's ready!

This morning I got out the vacuum cleaner and the extension cord, because for the first time since I have owned it, it got cleaned! First I hoovered up all the little stones sand what? in the boot. Apparently I had spilled some cat litter at some point and it had taken up the moisture in the car and then decided to stick to the floor. I got it out though...

Then it was the turn for the backseats and front seats (why is backseat one word and front seat two?). Taking out the mats and getting rid of several years of pebbles, sand, dirt and other assorted ickies. When I was finally finished with the vacuuming (is that even a word?), I decided to get even more radical. 

I got out the bucket and filled it with soap and water! Oh yes, the outside was up next! I sponged and soaped and the water got blacker and blacker. But the car looks shiny and fresh again. It won't for long, knowing the weather here in Norway, but I feel pretty chuffed over a morning's work. 

The car is ready. Now me...

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Tick

She tricked me!
Well, the first few things of the list are ticked. The pussycat went for a check-up (she did NOT agree) and was found to be fine. The car went for a check-up the next day and was found to be fine. Several fluids had been changed, the brakes were checked, the oil filter was changed and the windscreen wiper was changed (it had been bugging me for the time I've had it, but never so much to get it changed before). All in all it took about an hour and now my car should be fine on my journey.

Yesterday I also got a text message from my landlord: it was paper and plastic collection today! Of course I didn't read it until I was due to go to bed, so I then had to find the big bags in which to stuff all the plastic I had saved up so far. But, I did get there and was finally able to go to... no, I wasn't able to go to bed, because I had taken the sheets off to be washed and hadn't remade it with clean sheets yet. I finally managed to get to bed in the end though. And it was still before midnight.

Brom's passport has to come along. As well as my own of course.
The 'emergency' box for the trip is filling up nicely. Most importantly of course are the wine gums and the toilet roll (!), but I also have a small stash of plasters, anti-septic wipes, a box of tissues, some heat pads (in case of a stiff shoulder/neck), two small trash bags and other necessaries. 

In the mean time school has started again and Norway is back to normal life. However, today is a split shift (in which I cleared the car of a lot of junk) and tomorrow I am off. So, not too bad a start. Next week will see me work for the first three days and then I am off on Thursday. I booked the ferry for that evening, so it gives me some time to get everything sorted that needs to be sorted. 

During our Scotland trip
I am really starting to look forward to the trip itself, seeing my family and friends and of course seeing how the books turned out. 

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Preparing

What do you mean, I am not coming?
Usually when I go on holiday I pack my suitcase about a day before, sometimes (depending on the flight) even the day itself. But when I travel next week, I will not be travelling by plane. I will drive! And that needs a different preparation. For starters, I have to get the car serviced. Which will be a welcome surprise to it, since it hasn't happened so far! Then again, I have only had the car for two and a half years and more importantly: I don't do that much driving. Anyway, tomorrow the car will get a full service. Oil and water and checking of brakes and all that. 

The next thing to do is get puss serviced. Well, not really serviced, but she does need her shots, so later this afternoon (much against her will I am sure) she will be packed up and we see the vet. She has been going outside a lot lately (what with my extra free days and my sick days) and seems to be in good health, but yet again: a check-up is always clever.

It looks a bit different, but not much
The house needs to be serviced. Well, I say serviced, it would really be a good clear/clean. My desk still looks like a bomb exploded, even though the books are finished, several things need to be sorted and/or packed/packed away. I need to make sure that everything that needs to come along to the Netherlands, comes along. Like the photo (yep, the one that started my wall of memory), the mouse and the bamse mums for my sister (if anybody else wants: let me know now or forever hold your peace. Hold on, that was a different speech. I get confused sometimes). 

Some of these have been sold, so will not be coming along
Other than that I will be taken along the unsold mice (excluding the reserved ones of course), my medication(s), all the wires, cables and other contrapthingies I might need for the road and/or my stay. I have bought some winegums to keep me going whilst driving and according to my mother it's always wise to have a toilet roll with you, so that's coming as well. Plus my music of course. So far I have about two weeks' worth of sing-alongs, scream-alongs, dream-away-tos and some push-the-pedal-to-the-metals. Everything from Glenn Miller to Sesame Street and from Beethoven to Queen. 

I am telling you right now: I am NOT going to the vet!
Of course I still have just over a week before I leave and I am bound to have to do most of it on the day itself. However, everything I can do now is a plus. Fortunately there are only 4 more working days left. One this week and then three next week. I can't wait...

Monday, 14 August 2017

Brom buys a mouse

Coocoo

Mara has been so busy lately, it is just incredible. Although last week she was done with the busy and started on the not feeling well (yet again). So, she stayed home for a few days, mainly concerning herself with knitting. And you know what she knits right? Yes, Mice for Mama

This is Mara's Mama's Mama with some of her mousies
She gave them (amongst others) to the Red Cross to be given to sick people on holiday
Now, the title may be a bit misleading, because she doesn't actually knit the mice for her Mama (she has several already, stuffed in a bookcase). She knits the mice to sell and then half of the proceeds go to a charity that is dear to Mara's Mama's heart: the Stomach, Liver and Bowel Foundation in the Netherlands. And that reminds me: Mara's Mama was checked up a few weeks ago and they found:

NOTHING! Well, they found her stomach and her toes and her heart and her nose and all that, but they did not find any cancer. She had a really good doctor and a lot of POTP and POTL and POTF&F. So, she is now officially cleared, so yippee! 

Anyway, Mara has been knitting mousies lately as well and they will go up on her other blog: Mice for Mama and when she started on the latest one, I knew it was going to be a good one. No, a great one! Because... it's in the colours of the Dutch flag! And before you say, well, Great Britain and Australia and the United States and a lot of other countries have the same colours, I know. But they don't have orange! So, I have decided to get myself a mouse. To join us on our travels! Which are going to be soon as well...

I only borrowed his cape...
If you want your own mousey companion, why not click on the following link: Mice for Mama and see whether there is a mouse you would like to give a good home to. 

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Photo on Sunday 2017-26

One person amongst you will recognise this particular mouse (it's S 018), but before this squeeky was actually finished. I did finish it though and now it (hopefully) lives the good life in Canada! 

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Really done!

Yes, this time it's true. I am really done! I now knew what to do and even though there were still a few hiccups, I managed to get it done in about 3 hours. Could be a bit less. I've got 4 books each (father's and mother's sides) on the way and then 5 magazines from my father's side. I can't wait to see them, but I will have to, since I had them sent to my parents' instead of here. The chances of them not arriving in time for my journey to the land below the water are too big!

In other news: I will sleep well tonight...

Monday, 7 August 2017

Done!

Halfway through Sunday afternoon I was done with the second book. I then located the book I had printed last year (after our road trip through Eastern Europe) and then went on to the Blurb page. 

Oh yes, the files were the wrong size. How did I do that again? Half an hour later I had finally found out and had resized. Oh no, I hadn't. Try again. And again. Oh, bother, the front and back page should be in a different file. Start again. 

Finally, after about an hour of this, I had gotten to the next stage. Which proved to be an even bigger hurdle, since I really don't know what it's about! Something about enclosed font. I think. But my book was completely written in Candara. Nothing to do with Arial. Make sure everything is in Candara. Try again. Nope! 

In the end, with a head fit to bursting (FIGURATIVELY), I gave up and sent a 'help me in your simplest words' message to Blurb. An hour or so later I got the answer I needed and continued. But of course then the whole lay-out looked terrible. Instead of nice round photos, there were black borders.

More editing was needed and eventually (at 8pm), I gave up. Hopefully I will get it done today, because the books need to be ordered. 

Getting a book published is hard!

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Photo on Sunday 2017-25

I tried, I really did. But every time she was in the smallest of the four and I would get my camera, she would jump out! So, no photo of Miss Oswin in a box. Just of boxes...

Friday, 4 August 2017

Three

Views like this were few and far between this summer
Yesterday was another day with the H and once again I tried the new pill. Again, no luck though. But I did notice that my shoulders felt awful and so did my neck. Whenever I shrugged it really hurt. So, once I got home I got hold of the heat pads, stuck one on my left shoulder and the other one across my neck and by 7pm, the H was gone! 

Today I woke up to a clear head. Don't worry though: as a bonus for being a good girl, it was absolutely tipping down outside! When I got in the car to drive to work, they even said on the radio that a main road had been closed due to flooding! As well as fallen down trees, flooded basements and other nasties! Fortunately half way through the day the rain cleared somewhat, but more is expected. As if our summer here in Norway hasn't been bad enough so far... Then again, it all makes for cheap electricity apparently. Not that that is much of a concern for me, since it's included in my rent!

Other than that, not much happened.  Three weeks to my holiday...

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

The first signs

As you know several weeks ago I went to see my gp about my headaches and got a load of medication and a headache diary to fill out. One pill I have to take every day and so far I only forgot once and I didn't take it once because I finished too late (and then started too early the next day). The first week or so I still had some residual aches and shoots from the cold, but after that it was going great. 

Then, two days ago, I had a slight achy thingy. But it left after an hour or so and I was fine. Then yesterday, I had a bit more of an achy head. Still, it was doable. This morning? I woke up with a headache. Only one way to go: take a pill. Well, take four pills really. Two of the ordinary painkillers, a new painkiller (Diclofenac if you're interested) and a stomach pill, thanks to the new pill not being good for my stomach. Four hours later, the process was repeated. 

So, did it work? Did it heck!! Not a chance! It's like they are giving me peppermints. It was a workable headache though, so no need to call in sick, but still. If you're given stronger medication, I would expect at least some sort of relief and there was none! WhatSoEver!

Of course I might have taken the wrong type pill, because it was the wrong type headache. Then again, if I wait until I've got a full-blown headache, the chances of it working are even less! Mind you, this was only the first time and it said to keep a diary, so that's what I do. Keeping a diary of when and how and how much and how long and all that... 

Then again, my last attack is over three weeks ago and I certainly know where that one came from: the cold! So, perhaps all is not lost just yet.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Office

As you know I work as a busdriver. But the last four days I spent sitting behind my computer doing a lot of searching, typing (ten fingers fortunately), constructing stories, checking, rereading, removing letters and words, rearranging etc etc. 

Apart from having something to show for it at the end (and the end is getting closer now), it is hard work. I cannot understand people who actually do it for a living: sitting behind a computer screen day in day out. I think I would go batty!

I did go out today though. Finally. I had only been out once or twice to see whether a package that was due last week had arrived (it hasn't), but today I needed to get to the shop. No bread, milk long overdue, no dinner left, no fruit. And how lovely it was to feel the sun on my head and the wind in my hair. 

Then I got back home and got stuck straight back in. And this afternoon was the afternoon of incredulity. When I checked my father's ancestors for pre-marriage pregnancies, I found two. Out of thirty or thereabouts. When I checked my mother's ancestors, I found a few more. Well, I found over twenty. Out of thirty or thereabouts! My jaw just kept dropping and dropping, until I was nearly in the basement. 

Ah well, tomorrow it's back to work. I am not completely finished with my mother's book yet, but it is looking good so far (57 pages) and I will be able to do some work in the evenings. Next week is my deadline (I always have an absolute deadline) and then it's back to normal life. 

I will give my eyes some rest now though, and watch some television and read a bit. An early night and back on the bus!

Monday, 31 July 2017

Goodness...

Both this and the school class photo feature.
With thanks to Anvilcloud for cleaning them up. 
Well, my 'probably' yesterday turned out to be correct. There were i's to be dotted, t's to be crossed and s's to be squiggled. But not only that: I had missed a story! I had been wondering where it had gone and it turned out, it had never arrived at its rightful chapter. And then last night when I was in bed, I realised I had another story with first hand information and a lot of photos. So, guess what I did first thing this morning?

But, as of this afternoon: 99 pages and it is done. Dusted. Ready. Finished. As long as I don't look at it too much, because I am sure to find something else to add. However, there is the small matter of another book to finish, this time the one of my mother's side. For some reason though, her family is higgledy piggledy all the way, starting with names and continuing in everything else. However, even this book already has already 52 pages and there are some things I still want to add. The reason it is smaller is that on my father's side I have used the contemporary stories of living family members, whereas on my mother's side, I will not be doing that. 

Anyhoo, Madi's Mum Cecilia once asked me which side was my favourite, story wise. Well...

There is of course the Royal Connection on my Mum's side. Being descended from the first King of Belgium is nothing to turn away from you know! But then there is the soldier who died in a Japanese PoW-camp while working on the infamous Birma railway on my Dad's side. 

There is the story of my grandmother finding food during the World War II on my Mum's side. And there is the letter from an ancestor to another ancestor on my Dad's side. 

My maternal grandmother (my Oma) doing something with fruit
There is the man who got killed by a priest on my Mum's side. And there is the man who (allegedly) killed someone in Orléans (France) on my Dad's side. Unfortunately I have not been able to find anything more on that, so he does not feature in the book. Perhaps for part 2?

On both sides there are too many stories (really too many) about women giving birth to children and then those children not making it past their fifth birthday, in many cases not even past their first. I've found one unwed mother on either side. Poverty and riches on both sides as well. 

So, overall I can say that both sides are equally interesting. Just for completely different reasons! 

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Photo on Sunday 2017-24

My desk at the moment. Overlooked by Brom to see if I actually do some work instead of just playing Mahjong!

This is the (probably) finished book on my father's side. Next will be my mother's side's book. And then it will be off to the printer... Exciting!!

Friday, 28 July 2017

Will he get her?

I love to read. And I love reading romance. It's not a guilty pleasure for me, it's just a pleasure. You know the end will be okay and the romantic leads will end up together to live out their days in happiness. But it is still fun to read. 

On occasion though, I feel I need a bit more than just a simple romance novel. And I buy other books. Literary works. Hailed by the critics. Must-reads. And I get a copy of said must-read and try and work my way through it. I bought The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (before the current series and hype). I tried to work my way through it, but as of today, I have been at it for over three years. And as with the film (after which I bought the book), I find it extremely hard going. 

I started David Copperfield by Charles Dickens. As of today I have yet to finish it. I started it in 1993! I bought On the Road by Jack Kerouac. I don't get it. I Just Don't Get It! But, I would not be deterred. I decided to go for the big guns and got hold of a copy of The Gulag Archipelago (the abridged version) by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. No read for the beach, but on the other hand: I couldn't put it down either. And yes, I finished it. 

The latest in my tries to bring a bit more culture to add to my collection was 1984 by George Orwell. I didn't know what to expect and I was a bit apprehensive, but even though it was quite tough reading at times, it was also a book I could not put down. And this morning (while at work) I finished it. It had me wrong-footed from quite early on (I tipped Julia), but I guess that was what it had intended to do from the get-go. 

So, what's to be next? Any suggestions? (And yes, I might give David Copperfield another go. At some point)

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Going walkies

My friend asked me whether I would like to take a walk with her on Sunday. Provided the weather was nice. And even though the deadline for the books is coming closer and closer, I realised I needed a bit of air and sunshine. Especially after the week of long shifts I've had last week.

So, on Sunday I made my way to Ryvarden, a place where we had been before and which isn't too taxing on life and limbs. But when I met my friend there, she had brought with her another friend: Fiona. A Jack Russell/Bichon Frisé mix who was just the sweetest little dog. 

We began our tour and boy oh boy, did Fiona have a lot of work to do: pee-mail everywhere! And of course they all had to be answered as well, but she was a diligent dog and did not skip a single one. Since we were very early, we only saw two other people and we had the whole path to ourselves. 

Once we got to the light house, we went down to the former jetty area and had a little sniff and a snoop around there. When we went back up, the little snack area had opened and we got some waffles and I even got a salted herring (not to be repeated there though). After that we went back to the cars.

This time there were a lot more people on the path though. And not only people, but dogs as well. Fiona said hello to one dog (Theo), but she isn't too used to and/or fond of dogs, so we had to keep the leash short, because she would bark up a storm. Until the other dog had passed and all was forgotten. 

It was a beautiful day though with good company and good waffles. Now, if I only had had a beer waiting in the fridge....

Monday, 24 July 2017

Miss Oswin goes missing

Miaow

Well, that title is wrong! I knew exactly where I was. All The Time! But let's start at the beginning...

As you know my two-legger Mara will let me out of the house to roam the neighbourhood. And I love that. Sometimes I am gone all day long, sniffing at the grass, chasing birds, chasing mice, chasing other cats. But when Mara calls at night, I come back, because I get a treat and cuddles and such.

But on Saturday it was a bit different. I had been out all day and when Mara called, I did want to go in. I even answered to her, but she is a two-legger of limited hearing I think, because she didn't hear me. A few minutes later I hear her again, this time starting that car of hers. After about half an hour, she comes back and when she gets out of the car, she calls me again. And I answered again. She heard me!!

But then, guess what, she goes inside! Without me!! It took another 87 minutes for her to come out and let me in!!! Tsk tsk tsk...

note from the editor: how she did it, is a bit unsure, but I guess that when the landlord opened the garage to get something or other, she sneaked in and hid (because unless she's at home, she doesn't like other people much). When the landlord then closed the door: she was trapped. When I was at the door calling out, I didn't hear her because the garage is a good distance from the house. But after I came back and parked the car (next to the garage) and called out again, I heard her. Now there was a little problem though: the landlord was not home. Only one thing for it: I had to call him up. Fortunately he told me where (abouts) I could (possibly) find a spare key. But that took a little time and then I had to try every key before finding the right one. Ossie was out like a shot when I finally got that door open. She had probably been locked in all day.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Photo on Sunday 2017-23

The goodies I got from the annual International market (about 10 stalls): 6 French yumminesses (gone the same day, they were just too good) and 4 packs of 'stroopwafels' or Dutch syrup waffles. I didn't think they would last, but so far I have not even finished the first pack. Mmmmmmmm.